Authors: E. H. Reinhard
Tags: #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Mystery, #Police Procedurals, #Thrillers & Suspense, #Crime, #Murder, #Serial Killers, #Thrillers
“Your message didn’t say that. You asked if I was interested in another job for two grand—which I am. I just can’t do whatever you need tonight. I have a family that I have to be home to.”
Ray sat his glass down and turned his bar stool to face Scott. “Make something up.”
“How am I supposed to do that?”
Ray cracked his knuckles. “I don’t care. You’ll think of something. Wont you?”
Scott wore a worried look on his face. “Yeah, I’ll come up with something I guess. What do you want me to do?”
Ray swung his stool back to the bar. “I need you to tell me where someone goes when they leave work. I don’t care how you do it, but I need to know every place they stop.”
“That’s it? For two grand? What’s the catch?”
Ray rapped his knuckles on the bar. “Catch?” He thought for a second. He sipped his drink. “If you don’t complete the job, I’ll come looking for that money back. You don’t want me to have to do that. If you get caught and mention anything about me or anything along those lines, I’ll kill you and that family of yours.” Ray smiled. “How is that for a catch?”
“Yeah, don’t worry about it. I’m not talking.”
Ray took another drink from his glass. “I know.”
“So who am I following and where do I have to go?”
“The bar you gave me the name of, Lefty’s. I need to know where the girl that drives the blue BMW goes when she leaves work. She works until close tonight. 3:00 a.m.”
“Alright, girlfriend or something?”
Ray let out a quick breath through his nose in disgust. “Or something.”
“Do you have the money?”
Ray pulled his wallet from his pocket and thumbed twenty hundred dollar bills to the side then pulled them out. Scott reached to take them. Ray held the bills tight between his fingers. “Remember the catch.”
Ray let the bills go from his grasp. Scott jammed them in his pocket and stood to leave.
Ray finished his drink and swung his chair around from the bar. “Oh, another thing. There might be more cops than normal floating around the neighborhood.”
Scott looked confused by the warning. “Oh, OK. Thanks.” He turned and headed for the front doors of the hotel.
Ray turned back to the bar and waved the bartender back over.
He walked up and pointed to Ray’s empty glass. “Another?”
Ray pushed the glass toward him. “Please.”
The bartender poured the drink, placed the receipt in the empty glass and disappeared. Ray took the Scotch to an empty corner of the hotel’s lounge and took a seat. He dialed Viktor.
“Where the hell are you? Why haven’t you answered my calls?” Viktor’s voice was loud. The questions flew fast. He was angry, as expected.
“Sorry Viktor. I had a problem. I had to work it out. We’re OK.” Ray sipped his drink and sat in on the small table beside his chair. He hoped Viktor wouldn’t question him on it further.
“She wasn’t there.” Ray paused for a man and woman walking past in the lounge. The two took seats at the hotel’s bar.
“Did you get her schedule?”
“Then what was the problem?”
“I got spotted leaving the building.”
“You got spotted leaving? By who?” Viktor’s voice rang of annoyance.
“Workers next door.”
“And what did you do, Andrei?”
“I took care of them.”
“How did you take care of them?”
“I put them down.”
Viktor cursed under his breath. “I just don’t understand you. This job was idiot proof. Find the girl, find the case, get rid of her.”
“What was I supposed to do? The guys saw me. They would have…”
“Forget it. I don’t want to hear your excuses. Was it clean? Did you get rid of the bodies?”
Ray thought about the two men left in the freezer. “I had to leave them there.”
Viktor let out a puff of air into the phone. “So they will be found?”
Ray could hear the anger return to Viktor’s voice. He needed to tell him the truth. He needed to tell them the police had already found the bodies.
“They already were.” There was a long silence on the other end of the phone. “Are you still there?” Ray asked.
“This could have been done in a couple days. You’ve been up there for weeks. The longer you’re there and the more bodies you leave behind, the better our chances of getting caught are.”
“I will get the job done.”
“You’ve got two days Andrei. If you don’t get it done, I’ll find someone who can. If I have to do that, I’m shipping you back to Norlisk.”
“Viktor, I’ll handle it. I have her schedule. The guy I hired will follow her when she leaves work. He’ll tell me where she goes. I’ll get the case, and take care of her.”
“When the guy gives you her location, get rid of him. Do it clean. No loose ends.”
“I’m not kidding about Norlisk.”
“Call me when you have the case.”
“OK Viktor.” Ray hung up and slid the phone back into his pocket.
The clock read a few minutes before seven thirty. Hank bugged out at seven. I gave the captain the highlights from the interviews with the Robinson boys. I told him about the warrant I put in for. From my office window, I saw the captain lock up and leave. It was time for me to do the same.
I pulled the key from my office door and turned smack into a wall. I bounced back. It wasn’t a wall. A man towered over me as wide as a doorway—Detective Jones.
“Sneak up on you?” he asked.
“Sorry. I’m half out of it. It’s been a long day. Need something?”
“I was checking to see if you were still here.”
I stuffed my keys in my pocket. “For about another thirty seconds. What’s going on?”
“We got a call about a homicide in North Tampa.”
“Can you and Donner handle it? I’m beat.”
“You may want this one.”
“I assure you I don’t.”
“9-1-1 call came from a Marques Robinson. He said he shot his neighbor.”
“Son of a bitch.” I shook my head. The two brothers must have come to the conclusion that the neighbor did it.
“Yeah, let’s go.”
“You want to call Rawlings?”
“No. He had a full day plus. Where’s Donner?”
“At his desk.”
I pointed for Jones to lead the way. “Let’s grab him and go.”
We left from the station. I followed Donner and Jones over in my car. I received a message on the way over that they had Marques in custody. We arrived on the scene a little after eight o’clock. Three marked squad cars sat in front of Mister Hill’s house. An ambulance parked ahead of the cruisers at the curb. Across the street, Marques’ younger brother Charles stood on the lawn with an officer. Charles was cuffed. I parked the Corvette behind Donner and Jones and walked to the house. Marques sat in the back of one of the cruisers. He stared at me with a blank expression as I passed.
Donner, Jones and I entered the property. A thin, early twenties kid sat on the couch. An American flag covered the wall behind him. Officer Quinlin from patrol stood in the living room. I could see another officer down the home’s hallway. I looked left. Next to the kitchen was a small dining room table. Blood covered the wall behind it. A chair lay turned over. In the corner was a body—Tom Hill.
“What happened here?” I asked.
Quinlin walked over. He flipped open his notes. “Grandson of the victim is on the couch there. He said the two neighbor men entered the home by force. The property’s occupants were in the dining room there eating.” Quinlin pointed over to the area. “The one intruder, Charles Robinson, searched the home for a pair of boots. The other man held a gun on the occupants. Charles found the boots and yelled, quote, ‘Found them. There is blood on them’. With that, the other brother Marques fired four shots into Mister Hill. He was deceased by the time paramedics arrived.”
I rubbed my eyes. “Did you find the boots?”
“They were on the floor in the back bedroom.”
“Bagged?” I asked.
Quinlin confirmed. “Bagged and tagged.”
“Alright. Who drove the cruiser that Marques is in?”
“Don’t leave with him until I talk to him.”
“No problem, Lieutenant.”
“Jones, Donner, have a talk with the kid here. Get some more details. I’m going to go talk with the two outside.”
“Will do, Kane,” Donner said.
Jones and Donner went to the kid on the couch.
I headed across the street for Charles Robinson. Officer Tate opened the front door of his cruiser. Charles Robinson sat in the back.
“One second, Tate.”
He stopped with one foot inside the car. “You need him?”
“For a minute.”
“Sure. Grab me when you’re done.”
Tate opened the back door so I could talk with him. I crouched in the car’s doorway.
“What happened here, Charles?”
“I didn’t know he was going to shoot him. He pulled out a gun and kicked in their front door. He ordered me to go find the boots. I went to look. He stayed by Mister Hill and Jimmy at the table. I dug through his bedroom. I found the boots in the closet. They had blood on them. I yelled back that I found them. A few seconds after I told him there was blood, I heard gun shots.”
“So you went into the house by force and your brother had a gun? What did you expect to happen?”
“I don’t know. I didn’t think it would go down like that.”
“You guys didn’t think. That’s the problem.” I closed the car door and walked back across the street to Quinlin’s car. I opened the rear door. Marques looked at me from the other side of the cruiser’s bench seat. “What happened here, Marques?”
“My brother had nothing to do with it. He didn’t do anything. It was all me.”
“I recognized those boot prints. Tom always wore them—big, shit-kicking combat boots. I told Charles we were going to go find them. He didn’t know I brought my gun until I pulled it out and kicked in the front door. I made sure Hill stayed put. I sent Charles to look. He found them all covered in blood.”
“So you shot him?”
“When my brother said the boots had blood on them, Tom tried justifying what he did. He said it was an accident. I pulled the trigger. He deserved it.”
“So that’s it? A life for a life?”
“It’s done now. We’re square.”
“Marques, I put in a search warrant for Tom Hill’s house a few hours ago. I would have had it by morning. He would have been arrested and would have gone to jail for what he did.”
He looked away.
“Now you get to, Marques.”
I closed the door and walked back to the house. I told Tate that I had finished with Charles. Jones and Donner stood in the living room.
“You get anything more out of him?” I jerked my chin at the kid still sitting on the couch.
“Same as what Quinlin said. Not much more. What about the two outside?” Jones asked.
“Marques said Mister Hill confessed before he shot him. The kid there say anything like that?”
Donner and Jones looked to each. They both looked surprised. “No,” Donner said.
I looked to Jimmy. He was crying. I looked to the body lying in the dining room. The night shift coroner still hadn’t arrived to bag and remove the body.
“What’s on your mind, Kane?” Jones asked.
I shook my head. “Rawlings and I just had the two guys in at the station a few hours ago. I put the paperwork to get a search warrant on this place. This could have been avoided.”
There was a silence from Donner and Jones.
I looked at my watch. It was already past nine. The thinking about my personal life that I was supposed to be doing this evening was going to be cut short. “Alright guys. Throw the reports from this in my inbox. I’m going to head out.”
“Sounds good,” Jones said.
I left them to wrap up the scene and headed home.
I changed and grabbed a beer from the fridge on my way to the couch. Butch lifted his head and walked over. He flopped himself on my leg and closed his eyes. He was either tired after a long day of sleeping or worn out from fighting me at the door when I entered. I dialed Callie.
She picked up. The sound of music and people talking in the background filled my ear.
“Hey Babe,” she said.
“Hey, I just got home. Are you guys busy tonight?”
“A little. We have a decent crowd. Did you say you just got home? It’s after nine.”
“Yeah. Long day.”
“Geez, I’d say. So are we good for dinner tomorrow?”
A country song blasted from her end of the phone. I could barely hear her. “Sure. Just call me in the morning.”
“OK, I’ll call you when I get up and we can figure it out.” There was a muffling on the phone. She must have been talking to a customer.
“Sounds good, Cal. Have a good night.”
“You too. Love you.”
I assumed I was supposed to say it back. “Love you too.”
“Aww, thanks Babe. See you tomorrow.”
She hung up.
I tossed my phone of the coffee table and popped the top on my beer. I took a sip and grabbed the remote for the television.
Callie wanted me to think about the situation. I couldn’t just stare at the TV. I closed my eyes. The room was quiet aside from Butch’s purring. In a matter of months, I’d never be able to relax alone. I’d be responsible for someone.
The thoughts started to roll. Callie and I needed to figure out what we’d do about our living arrangements. I didn’t want to move from my condo. Callie’s house was too far from my work. Her house was too far from her job as well, that is, if she stayed working. Yet, a house was a better spot to raise a child. It was logical. I’d have to sell my condo.
Different thoughts came next. I’d never even met her parents. We still hadn’t talked about either of our financial situations. I didn’t even know if she had health insurance. The next few thoughts scared me. I’d have to get rid of the Corvette and get something responsible. I’d be changing diapers.
My phone vibrated on the table saving me from my own thoughts. I reached for it. The screen said it was Samantha, my ex-wife. The call wasn’t saving me. I had a hunch it was about to make things worse. Samantha and my relationship was strained to say the least. For the life of me, I couldn’t imagine what she wanted to talk about. I answered.